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Your household emergency kit should include the necessary supplies to sustain you and your family in your home for at least 3 days, maybe longer. Remember that it may take a significant amount of time for basic services (water, electricity, and telephones) to return to normal. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own.
While there are many things that might make you comfortable, thing first about fresh water, good and clean air. Consider putting together two kits. In one, put everything needed to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to get away.
- Water: 1 gallon per person per day
- Food: Ready-to-eat, just-add-water, canned and dried foods that are easy to store and prepare
- Manual can opener
- First Aid kit
- Essential medications
- Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Portable Television or Radio (battery-operated or manual)
- Cash in small denominations
- A copy of important documents & phone numbers
- Unscented liquid household bleach for water purification
- Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, and soap
- Sturdy shoes
- Heavy gloves
- Warm clothes, a hat and rain gear
- A local map
- Prescription medicines
- Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
- Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Extra keys to your house and vehicle
- Large plastic bags for waste and sanitation
- Special-need items for children and seniors or people with special needs
- Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets
Many potential terrorist attacks could send tiny microscopic “junk” into the air. Many of these materials can only hurt you if they get into your body, so think about creating a barrier between yourself and any contamination. It’s smart to have something for each member of the family that covers their mouths and noses like filter masks, which are readily available in hardware stores. These masks are rated based on how small a particle they filter.
If you don’t have a mask, plan to use two or three layers of cotton t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. It is very important that the mask or other material fit your face snugly so that most of the air you breathe comes through the mask, not around it. Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children.
Also include duct tape, and heavyweight garbage bags or plastic sheeting that can be used to seal windows and doors if you need to create a barrier between yourself and any potential contamination outside.